The foundation of Ital consciousness is laid upon a botanical roots– (roots meaning origin)– and cultivates a deep reverence for all lifeforms. It describes the Rastafarian lifestyle and culture, but in particular their diet, hence Ital foods. Vegan would be the equivalent to ital, meaning non-animal or animal by-product based diet. Yet there lies a difference between the two. The difference is: tofu, seitan, tempeh, veggie chunks and all processed meat substitutes, that is commonly accepted as vegetarian, couldn't possibly qualify as Ital for two reasons:
(1) Ital is rooted in a botanical consciousness therefore, there can be no meat substitute, as this is of a carnivorous mentality which contradicts the principles of the Ital way.
(2) Meat substitutes are heavily processed foods. Ital dictates fresh and wholesome as opposed to refined, canned, packaged and over-processed foods. Natural and organic is crucial to Ital consciousness.
Vegetarian food is a general term that is wide in its scope, and can be broken down into groups with sub-groups within each category:
Group (A) Vegan-vegetarian (no dairy or eggs) Group (B) Lacto-vegetarian (includes dairy, no eggs) Group (C) Ova-vegetarian (includes eggs, no dairy) Group (D) Lacto-Ova-vegetarian (includes dairy & eggs)
It would appear to some, that ital is a general term for Rastafarian vegetarian food cooked with little or no salt, but in reality, ital is Rastas unique way of preparing their cuisine. It's their roots gourmet to be exact, and a sacrament for the temple, the word used by Italist to refer to the body.
An Ital diet can be cooked or be uncooked. When cooked, preferably in a yabba (African clay pot), it is primarily a low sodium meal, seasoned in coconut milk, sometimes simmered down to a rich savory sweetish sauce, commonly called run-down. Coconut is the foundation of Ital cooking and baking. It gives the food a unique flavor while supplementing essential nutrients with a variety of health benefits. Coconut milk and oil is a much healthier alternative to the high cholesterol, super saturated fats of animal based milks and oils, as well as most of the plant based ones. The coconut is the ideal alternative, and the plant and its fruit can be found in various uses throughout the Rastafarian culture. Apart from the cannabis sativa plant, to some Italist, no other tree can be compared in value to the coconut. The fruit and plant has been sustenance to the Rastafarians all throughout their history, valued as food, shelter and an ever present refuge from the tropical heat. Its bark and roots are used in tonics, its trunk is used as building columns and is the prized wood for drums and mortars. All variations of utensils and jewelries are made from the hard shell of the coconut, one of the greatest gift of nature, a plant that some Rastas considerer to be the tree of life.
The implications of an Ital lifestyle, for us, is the key to understanding the choice in itself. The use of aluminum pots, plates or utensils were forbidden, outlawed and condemned by the founding italist. They shunned all animal-skin drums and all leather products opting for green alternatives such as Yabba (clay) pot instead of metal. Gourds and calabash cups and bowls, instead of metal. Wood drums (rhumba box) instead of goat skin.
We hope to, in our endeavors in promoting Ital awareness, create a platform upon which the iRiE Foundation can work with other like-minded groups and organizations to address common issues that affect the natural balance of our planet.
Eco cutting-board, Ital bowls, utensils and ice-chest all made from dried coconut fruit, calabash gourd, bamboo, coconut wood, coconut shell, palm leaf and cherry wood.
Yabba Pot: A traditional clay pot, for cooking and storage, used in indigenous cultures across the globe for thousand of years. It is still used by italists today and is a wonderful way to cook soups and stews. These pots can still be found, even though the art of hand-making them without a wheel is a disappearing craft, indigenous craft-people in Africa, Asia, and North and South America still continue the tradition in much the same way for generations. A new Yabba Pot must first be soaked in room temperature water, submerged for at least three days (the number of days may vary depending on who you are speaking to), before being placed over open flame. This will prevent your pot from cracking.
The coconut is a natural water filter. It takes almost 9 months for a coconut to filter every quart of water stored within its shell. This makes the resulting coconut water completely pure and sterile, which is one reason why it can be used for blood transfusions.